I don’t have an amazing story of how I came to have a relationship with Jesus. No turning point, no dark point- but nonetheless, it’s a story worth telling.
I was raised in a Christian home, attending a private Christian school, Awana, and church almost every Sunday. I remember loving Awana, going through the books, memorizing verses, and the books of the Bible. I remember my mom helping me with my memory verses and my parents both being a great example of living life as God wanted us to.
I was 6 or 7 when I asked Jesus to be in my life. I remember praying somewhat of a sinner’s prayer at school one day and making that decision. In junior high (after moving to a new state and new public school), I reaffirmed that decision after discerning that some of the cool kids weren’t walking the same path I was. It was then that I knew I could be a light to others.
Our church youth group was having a big event (I don’t remember it now) but we were asked to invite our friends and basically whoever wanted to come. That night, our group tripled. And everyone that was asked on a sheet who were you brought by? My name showed up. Our youth pastor and leaders were so shocked– and they always told me that I “singlehandedly built that group that year.” I noticed I was an influence and that even though I didn’t “feel” like one of the cool kids– they were watching.
I loved being in youth group in high school. We met on Sunday nights and I looked forward to it. My walk with the Lord was strong, and I continued to invite my friends.
In college, I wasn’t going to church a lot. I didn’t seek out a group on campus (even though there were a couple I believe) and I was just happy doing my own thing. My family had just been through a tragedy and I was sorting that out in my head. Why would this happen? How could God let this happen? I was angry, but knew there was a plan for this. That God had it already worked out, but in my head it was unfathomable. It was a weird place– trying not to be angry at God but then who COULD I be mad at? My faith was being tested. That was a hard time for my entire family– but I just knew there was a plan.
Leading up to the rest of my college years and getting married, I knew that I needed to fully trust God and not just pray to Him when things were going wrong. I remember our pastor preaching on HOW to pray, and I learned SO much from that sermon. Brandon and I did Biblical premarital counseling so that we were on the same page with our expectations of marriage, and having a family– and I am SO glad we went through that. We had dated 5 years and gotten into a comfortable routine. Knowing how to prepare ourselves somewhat was refreshing and made us that much stronger. We also chose not to live together before getting married– even though we purchased a house 3 months before the wedding. It was important to us that we didn’t live together until after the wedding. I definitely don’t regret it.
Now that we have our own kids, I realize how important our church family is. It takes a village, and I am so glad that our church is a part of mine. I hope to be a light to my kids as much as I was to the “cool” kids in my school days, and in turn, I hope they will be a light unto others for Him.
© 2013 – 2019, Julie Sancken. All rights reserved. Love it? Please share, pin, tweet or email but do not use my work without permission.